The National Institutes of Health has launched a study to track the prevalence and impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection among approximately 16,000 pregnant women in seven low and middle-income countries including Guatemala, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
The study will follow women through pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth to compare maternal, foetal and newborn outcomes of participants who have been infected with the virus to those of pregnant women who have not been infected.
At delivery, women enrolled in the study will receive an antibody test to determine if they have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Researchers hope to determine if infection increases the risk of complications such as preterm birth, foetal growth restriction, stillbirth, newborn death and birth defects. They also hope to assess participants’ knowledge and attitudes of COVID-19 during pregnancy, including safety, protective practices and prenatal care. Women in the study will also be invited to participate in a follow-up analysis to determine if maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection influences infant outcomes such as cerebral palsy, developmental delays and hearing and vision abnormalities.
The study is being conducted by the Global Network for Women’s and Children’s Health Research, a group of clinical sites funded by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).